Intervention Journal

November 2017 - Volume 15 - Issue 3

ARTICLES

Trauma informed restorative justice through community based sociotherapy in Rwanda
Authors:
Ingabire, Chantal Marie; Kagoyire, Grace; Karangwa, Diogene; Ingabire, Noella; Habarugira, Nicolas; Jansen, Angela; Richters, Annemiek

FIELD REPORTS

REFLECTIONS, COMMENTS, LETTERS

REVIEWS

From the Editor, Editorial Board and Editorial Staff: towards a new era for Intervention

Looking back

This issue, 15.3, is in so many ways a very special issue. Not only is it the last issue of our 15th anniversary year, but also celebrates and notes 15 years of providing a platform for exploring and introducing novel approaches and good practise in the field of mental health and psychosocial support in areas of armed conflict and disaster. Fifteen years in which we have tried to initiate further debate on unresolved or controversial issues in the field, and where we have kept a place for those little heard ‘voices from the field’. These voices are not only often gripping, personal stories of people living and/or working in (post) conflict, war zones or disaster areas, but are also considered a central core of the journal and are unique within the world of journals.

To date, we have published 45 issues, 218 peer reviewed articles, 89 field reports (also peer reviewed in the last 3 years), 28 personal reflections, 55 book reviews and several other contributions such as Invited comments, Letters to the editorSpecial Introductions and manuals. Each time we publish, these stories remind us why a journal like Interventionis so essential, and so unique. The journal has become such a unique voice in the burgeoning field of ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings’ through linking the worlds of humanitarian practitioners, academic researchers and humanitarian policy makers.

However, what makes this issue even more special is that it marks the end of an era and is the last printed ‘hard copy’issue of Intervention. When the journal began, all those years ago, in many countries where we felt it was so essential to disseminate the sort of information contained within our covers, the availability of the internet was not as pervasive as it is now nor reliable enough to sustain connections to download articles. In these changing times, hard copies have become less important, more expensive to maintain and in recognition, many publications are switching to an online presence only.

Our discussions about the future direction of Intervention and how to serve our readers best was somewhat accelerated by our publisher, Wolters Kluwer Health, who have decided not to support the continued publication of a hard copy Intervention after 11 wonderful years of working together. It has always been a great pleasure to work with such a dedicated team and such skilful, but above all, friendly people with inexhaustible strength, flexibility and support. We are very grateful to all those that we have worked with there to produce Intervention, and will miss them dearly. We find ourselves, sadly, also in the position of having to say goodbye to the translators who translated our abstracts into several languages to spread the word further with great dedication, for many years. We are also grateful to each and every one of them for their important contributions.

Entering a new era

From 2018 onwards, Intervention will not only be a new, up-to-date online journal, but more importantly, it will also become an open access journal. For people who had no subscription, they could access the articles for free via more than 1800 university libraries and organisations via the special website ‘Hinari’ of the World Health Organisation. This too will become a thing of the past. However, have no fear, should you wish an article from our 15 year archive, in 2018 all volumes published up to and including 2017 will be freely accessible on our website www.interventionjournal.com.

As the journal enters this new era in 2018, Intervention will be published by Medknow, a subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer, thus allowing us to continue this great partnership. Medknow provides publishing services for peer reviewed, online journals to over 350 medical society journals in over 40 specialties, with a global focus. Their specific mission is to help medical societies disseminate research, thereby supporting the transformation of research into knowledge, a mission in line with the aim of Intervention. Medknow also operates the Open Access (OA) model of publishing services. For further information see: http://www.medknow.com/.

We have great faith that these changes will bring Intervention to a new age, publishing as fast as possible and with the all important open access. The core of the journal and it's aims will remain the same with peer reviewed articles, field reports and our unique personal reflections. We are looking forward to step into this new era and will do our best to continue to publish interesting, relevant papers and contribute to new developments, as well as evidence and practice based interventions. Therefore, we invite authors to continue contributing to Intervention. The website for submitting articles continues until the end of the year, and we will announce on our website any renewed instructions for submissions. Should any queries or problems arise during this transition period, please send us an email: intervention@wartrauma.nl

The final special element of this issue is the fact that it is a Special Issue. In 2014, Intervention published a special section on Peacebuilding and Psychosocial Work. Also, in that year, the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in South Africa and the War Trauma Foundation (WTF) collaborated to develop a series of outputs aimed at researching the interconnectedness between mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding. A series of meetings and conferences, a literature review, a global mapping study and a call for proposals on ‘Linking mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding’ have resulted in this, final hard copy Special Issue, funded by the donor of that project. It is another example of mainstreaming mental health and psychosocial support into other sectors and an important one for both disciplines to better meet their goals and serve affected populations better. For more detailed information on the contributions in this issue, please see the Introduction article of our guest editor, Friederike Bubenzer of IJR, and myself, the Editor in Chief of Intervention. We hope that this issue will not only be read by people working in the mental health and psychosocial support field, but also in the peacebuilding field. Further, that the contributions will be food for thought and help to develop a theoretical and practice framework and strategic long term policy on which an evidence base for future action can be built.

On behalf of the Editorial Board and Editorial Staff,

Marian Tankink

Editor in Chief

© 2017 War Trauma Foundation, Diemen, The Netherlands

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Authors:
Tankink, Marian

Introduction to Special Issue: linking mental health and psychosocial support to peacebuilding in an integrated way

Abstract: Across the world, many communities have been affected by conflict, violence and war. The impact of this suffering can vary enormously and ranges from political division to economic hardship, and from infrastructure destruction to social fragmentation. No matter which lens is used to understand how conflict affects society, human suffering remains the common denominator. However, global definitions of peacebuilding and international practice do not sufficiently recognise the impact of violent conflict on psychosocial wellbeing, nor do they recognise that mental health and psychosocial support processes are essential and need to be integrated. The goal of this Special Issue is to profile a selection of relevant contemporary efforts aimed at bringing the fields of mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding closer together, and to make the case for the need for an integrated approach.

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Authors:
Bubenzer, Friederike; Tankink, Marian

ARTICLES

Building sustainable peace through an integrated approach to peacebuilding and mental health and psychosocial support: a literature review

Abstract: The contribution of the fields of mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding is critical to the repair of societies affected by war and violent conflict. Despite some advances in bringing the two fields closer together, the evidence base for the outcomes and impact of an integrated approach included both mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding is still very thin. The hypothesis for this literature review was that a combined approach would enhance the knowledge base and, therefore, foster the prospect of sustainable peace. The literature reviewed indicates that while there is an increasing awareness of the need to bring some of the knowledge and tools traditionally belonging to the field of mental health and psychosocial support into peacebuilding interventions (and vice versa), this is not yet practiced in a way that is fully integrated from the outset or is holistic on a systemic level. This study highlights the need for the development of a theoretical model that bridges both fields as a foundation for future research and practice.

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Authors:
Tankink, Marian; Bubenzer, Friederike

Peacebuilding and psychosocial intervention: the critical need to address everyday post conflict experiences in northern Uganda

Abstract: The complex set of phenomena posed by societies affected by violence has prompted calls for integration and coordination between peacebuilding and psychosocial work. The ways in which psychosocial support interventions are implemented can contribute to, or impede, the peacebuilding process. In northern Uganda, a rise in cases of suicide, domestic violence and substance abuse has pointed to the pressing need to better understand the experiences and stressors of individuals and communities navigating post conflict life. Drawing on the perspectives of community leaders, traditional authorities, local government officials, and nongovernmental organisations, this article offers a critical analysis of mental health and psychosocial interventions in northern Uganda. It that demonstrates that psychosocial interventions have largely been: (1) short lived; (2) targeted specific groups at the expense of others; (3) failed to respond to the daily needs of the population; and (4) remained relatively disconnected from the wider post conflict recovery process. To address the full range of conditions affecting societies emerging from complex emergencies, psychosocial interventions must be responsive to the needs and changes that arise during the delicate war-to-peace transition.

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Authors:
Rokhideh, Maryam

A reflection on narrative based historical memory work in peacebuilding processes

Abstract: Peacebuilding processes operate within a nexus of historical events, contemporary dynamics and future possibilities. This paper explores the possibilities presented by narrative based historical memory work in enabling an understanding of conflicting stories and perspectives needed to build an understanding of contemporary dynamics of a society or context. The narrative repair created by hearing contrasting stories has the potential to facilitate shifts from previously divisive and exclusionary modes of remembering to more collective ways of moving forward, with lower levels of enmity and violence. The personal insights, as well as the social and relational networks that can emerge out of this work, have the potential to support and undergird the more systemic dimensions of a peace process aimed at addressing legacies of violent conflict.

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Authors:
Edlmann, Theresa

Trauma informed restorative justice through community based sociotherapy in Rwanda

Abstract: Restorative justice, when trauma informed, has a great potential to effectively contribute to sustainable peace in post conflict settings. An evidence based example of a programme illustrating such effect is community based sociotherapy in Rwanda. This article documents what this programme has achieved in terms of restorative justice, following the closure of Gacaca, the community based justice system that was in operation in Rwanda nationwide from 2005 to 2012. In total, 155 respondents to 23 focus group discussions and 39 individual interviewees, including former participants of sociotherapy, leaders on sector and district level and government representatives at national level, participated in outcome studies that inform this article. The majority of respondents indicated that sociotherapy generates a process of genuine healing and reconciliation, resulting in peacebuilding at family and community level, as well as wider social change. The challenge is how to scale-up sociotherapy interventions without losing trauma informed characteristics.

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Authors:
Ingabire, Chantal Marie; Kagoyire, Grace; Karangwa, Diogene; Ingabire, Noella; Habarugira, Nicolas; Jansen, Angela; Richters, Annemiek

Exploring the link between trauma and truth in post conflict societies: comparing post conflict Northern Ireland and post apartheid South Africa

Abstract: While much has been written in academia about trauma and truth as singular subjects in post conflict societies, there is a lack of research that investigates the relationship between these foci. This project investigated this underexplored link and uncovered themes that emerged through a rigorous literature review of existing research coupled with semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with professionals working in the fields of trauma and truth across Northern Ireland and South Africa. Two important thematic findings were revealed, which include the necessity of expanding the discussion of experiences with trauma in post conflict societies and how the ways in which truth is experienced by, or presented to, an individual may impact how one recovers from trauma. Both themes suggest important considerations that should be recognised in future discussions on the extent to which truth may dissipate trauma in societies attempting to move forward in the aftermath of violent conflict.

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Authors:
Hass, Kjelsie L.

FIELD REPORTS

Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience programme: experiential education towards resilience and trauma informed people and practice

Abstract: War, genocide, gender based violence, structural oppression and other forms of chronic violence and social upheaval can reveal and cultivate tremendous strength and resilience. They can also gravely harm people in body, mind and spirit, both individually and collectively. These harms can lead people to act in on self and act out against others, entrapping us in cycles of violence. Many strategies can assist in breaking free from cycles of violence and building resilience. Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience is one educational programme that offers a gateway for participants to: a) understand and destigmatise potential impacts of traumagenic events and b) develop life giving responses that meet human needs rather than escalate violence. This Field report details the programme's origins, practical and theoretical foundations, pedagogical approach and the components of a typical training, as well as selected results, challenges and questions for further research.

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Authors:
Mansfield, Kathryn

The intrinsic interlinkage between peacebuilding and mental health and psychosocial support: The International Association for Human Values model of integrated psychosocial peace building

Abstract: In view of the evolving discussion on bridging the mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding fields, this article proposes that they don’t need to be bridged, but are already intrinsically interlinked. The approach and methodology of the International Association for Human Values is presented as a conceptual and practical model of integrated peacebuilding, both addressing a gap in peacebuilding as well as working complementary to traditional mental health and psychosocial support methods. This article will present an overview of several congruencies between the mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding fields, illustrated with practical examples from International Association for Human Values programmes from around the world. The author argues that sustainability of peacebuilding cannot happen without psychosocial peacebuilding: an approach that integrates the full range of psychosocial factors into peacebuilding including, but not limited to, the integration of mental health and psychosocial support. She concludes that as an integrated field, we can move forward to the full and joint aspiration of both mental health and psychosocial support and peacebuilding, towards optimal health and positive peace.

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Authors:
Hertog, Katrien

REFLECTIONS, COMMENTS, LETTERS

Snaga Žene: a model for healing trauma beyond psychological treatment

Abstract: The nongovernmental organisation Snaga Žene, which means ‘the power of woman’, provides psychological, social, medical, educational and legal assistance to refugee women who have returned to Srebrenica after the massacre in 2002, which claimed the lives of their husbands, sons and/or brothers. Snaga Žene has developed a multidimensional, ecological model that includes five important aspects in the lives of every person: 1) psychological health; 2) social aspect and position within the wider social community; 3) health and health care; 4) legal rights; and 5) economic wellbeing, as well as employment and income. Women's groups support their participants in establishing psychological balance, strengthening family ties and ties within the society, improving their economic situation and their efforts to better fit into daily social events. This historical concept, truth telling, fact finding, bottom-up approach has led to the respect of women from both national groups. Therefore, this can serve as a good example for reconciliation and restoration of trust for other post conflict societies. The women have created strong bonds, often through great mutual losses, mutual experience of trauma, mutual regional belonging and shared traditional values.

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Authors:
Antic-Štauber, Branka

REVIEWS

Hamber, B. & Gallagher, E. (Eds) (2015). Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding. New York: Springer (331 pages). ISBN 978-3-319-34887-2

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Authors:
Tankink, Marian